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May 24, 2016

Danny Willett

Surrey, England

SARAH GWYNN: Thank you for joining us. We'll start off by announcing that you have been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for April unsurprisingly.


SARAH GWYNN: Not surprising. And third win this year. So you receive a seven-night stay at a Hilton anywhere in the world, which is very nice.

DANNY WILLETT: Vegas, here we come!

SARAH GWYNN: Moving on, let's hear your thoughts ahead of this week.

DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, it's brilliant to be back at the BMW and Wentworth. Fortunate enough to have played this event quite a few years in a row how; obviously as a British player, the Flagship Event that we play in.

Yeah, you get that feeling, like we do I guess for a lot of us driving down, we got to come in the front entrance this morning which was nice. And the resemblance of Magnolia Lane, driving down, the flowers are budding and the sun is shining; life's pretty good.

You know, going to come now and hopefully we've done all the bits that we need so now we can really knuckle down and grind and try and actually play a little bit better than we have the last couple of weeks and hopefully come Sunday be there or thereabouts.

Q. If I said to you here 12 months ago that you would be sitting here, not only as the Masters Champion but as the leading player in the field here at The European Tour's Flagship Event, what would you have said?
DANNY WILLETT: It would be nice, yeah. No one's got a crystal ball. Yeah, fast forward 12 months and a lot's happened. You know, I've done the same things. I've been training and practicing hard, and I've just been on the fortunate end that results have kind of come by.

It's a game where every guy each week has got a chance to win. They are all fantastic players. They're all working hard to try and achieve what I've achieved, and obviously I'm fortunate enough to play alongside a few of the young lads that have won a lot of majors already. You kind of set your stall out to go out and try and do the same thing, and yeah, fortunate enough, we have been able to the last 12 months.

Q. How has your life transformed over the last five or six weeks?
DANNY WILLETT: Little Man's obviously been a big transformation, which has been fantastic. That in fairness with everything that's gone on, it's been pretty refreshing. You come home and yeah, the green jacket is hung up in the hallway, which is amazing but you've got nappy changing to do and getting him fed and bathed and make sure he sleeps well.

It's been really, really crazy. You couldn't have put two better things within ten days of happening. So very fortunate for everything to have fallen as it has.

Q. So being a dad has changed things more than being a Masters Champion?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, golf's a job. As brilliant a job as it is, golf's a job. Life's miles more important. I've got a fantastic family at home and Nic's doing great and Zach's doing great, and with the added bonus that we're now a Masters Champion, and we get to go back there for the rest of our lives; and we get to be announced on the tee for a year as Masters Champion and all the perks that go along with it.

But like I said, golf's golf, but it's more really important for me off the golf course what's happened and how good that is.

Q. You experienced firsthand on Sunday what it's like for Rory playing at a home event with every single member of the gallery willing that ball in the hole and cheering him on and that also brings pressure, as well. That's what it's going to be like for you this week; is that a pressure you're looking forward to?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, last week was unbelievable. Again, that's what you practise for, 18 holes on a Sunday with Rory in Ireland, it was brilliant. The crowd got right behind him. When things weren't going his way. I think they helped him get through a couple of the sticky situations that he had on that back nine, and then it was real class down the stretch last week. He hit two of the best shots I think you'll see on 16 and 18 to kind of keep Russell from really challenging. Russell kept pressure on him all day. I mean, Russell against that crowd was fantastic.

Yeah, hopefully we get more of the same this week where there's a few British lads up there contending and the crowds can get right behind them and hopefully get him over the line.

Q. Looking at The Ryder Cup, you could potentially have six or seven Englishmen on it. Is that a quirk that all these English players are peaking at the same time or what's that down to?
DANNY WILLETT: I don't think you can really put it to anything. I think it's just the fact that they are all young lads. They have seen what Rory, Jordan and Day have done, like I did over the last kind of three, four years, and how they have risen to the top of their game.

I think it's egged all the guys on to really knuckle down and realise what you can achieve and what you can do. And I just think you're seeing, you know, you get them veins of form running through. I think you've got myself, Sully, Fitzy, Woody, we're all up there.

And then obviously you've got not the next generation, but the generation that's slightly older than that where you've got Westy and Poults and Luke and Rosey. It just happens to be that they had it kind of five, eight years ago where they were all coming through and I think you're going to get the same running up. And hopefully, yeah, we can all make the team and we can all achieve the same for the next few years.

Q. Just a couple of quick questions. You mentioned obviously early on about your form there, and you haven't played horrendously in the tournaments obviously that you came back in, you were well up there halfway at Ireland. What do you put it down to, poor round on Sundays, just lack of competitive golf since the Masters?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, a little bit. Sunday was a little bit tired. It had been a long week, a long Saturday, obviously, with the delays. They put us back out for a 7.55 restart the Saturday night which was a bit silly. We played I think two and a half holes and it was pretty much dark when we went back out.

Yeah, just a long two days, really, nothing else that you can put it down to. I didn't play good golf. It happens. I could never really get anything going. I think we made, something stupid, like 26 straight pars. Just really couldn't get the ball in, and I think when I made that first bogey on the Sunday afternoon after missing a short one for birdie on 12 or 13, it was just a bit deflated, wind got knocked out of the sails, and yeah, it just is what it is. It's golf. You feel like everything's going well and flipside, you can play pretty poorly quite quickly.

Yeah, it just happens. I'm not really going to try to take too much from it. Got back home. Had some good rest. Unpacked all the bags, repacked everything, got my family down here, decent night's sleep last night, shipping him off to his grandma tonight and hopefully can have a good week.

Q. I don't know if you saw Rory's comments yesterday about the Olympics and the threat of the Zika virus, and at the moment, obviously he's saying he is going to go, but he's monitoring it and he's worried about it. As somebody who has just started a family; is that something you're worrying about? What's your take on it?
DANNY WILLETT: Yeah, we are monitoring it. Had an e-mail from the WHO and we are keeping on top of it.

Yeah, it's not great, is it. There's going to be 500,000 people watching the Olympics, and you have 11,000 athletes right in the heart of where it's at. But I'm not a doctor; I don't know the ins and outs of it, but I'm going to have a sit down with the guys this week and just double-check everything.

If it turns out that it would be a massive threat to myself or to Nick or to Little Man, then I probably wouldn't go. Family comes first. But as it stands at the minute, I think everything should be okay.

So yeah, we're down to go, and hopefully, they can give us some proper guidelines as to how to keep it at bay and keep it under control so that it doesn't ruin what could be potentially a fantastic Olympics.

Q. Obviously you're the only player in the Top-20 here this week. How do you think that will affect the focus on you that everyone is going to be looking at you?
DANNY WILLETT: I don't think it will change it a great deal to be honest. Obviously coming in as Masters Champion was always a pretty big accolade. Would have been nice if Rosey would have been here to deflect a little bit of that.

But no, I think the expectations are going to be quite high from a lot of other people but I'm not really fussed about other people expecting. I have my own things I want to try and do this week and try and achieve, and from there, hopefully everything pans out nicely and come Sunday we can be in with a chance like we were a few years ago.

Q. How do you view this event as part of your calendar, your schedule?
DANNY WILLETT: Obviously your year is built around majors and World Golf Championships and this one is right in behind it in terms of trying to get it scheduled in so that you pitch up in good form.

You can't always judge when that's going to happen but you always know it's around the same time of year and just to make sure you've not played too much beforehand, because it's a fantastic golf event. BMW have done a great job again like they do every year and yeah, it's a pretty special place down here at Wentworth.

So hopefully, like I say, we can be somewhere there or thereabouts on Sunday.

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